Friday Sep 12, 2014

Essentials of an Employee Social Media Policy

social media employee policyThere’s still a lot of fear out there around employees’ use of social media related to their company of employment. Employees are scared to mention the company for fear of doing something wrong. That’s not good. Brands want and need employees to be the first wave of social message amplifiers and engagers.


Companies are afraid an employee post referencing the company will lead to a humiliating PR nightmare. That’s not good either. With the content fire hose wide open and as hard as it is to get your brand noticed on social, restrained marketing rooted in fear is a sure path to #fail.


So below are some terms you may want to include in your company’s social “rules of the road.” Having such guideposts in place helps the company and its employees understand each other’s wants and concerns so that mutually beneficial activity can comfortably proceed.


  • We encourage all employees to follow company social channels and actively engage on those channels. Additionally, we ask that you set the preferences on your social channels and devices to receive notifications when a post goes out from the company’s social channels.


  • We encourage all employees to share official company social posts and content on their own social channels. When adding comments to such content, employees are expected to use sound judgment in not criticizing or being counter productive to the messaging the company is trying to communicate. If you have questions or criticisms of the messaging, please address with your immediate supervisor FIRST.


  • The more you use your personal social channels to mention the company and share its content, the more guarded you are requested to be in how you present yourself overall on your social channels. Please respect and be aware of the fact that during the time of your employment, you are a representative of the company. This is actually a sound practice that should help you professionally, regardless of your employment with our company.


  • Please always use proper, widely acceptable, non-offensive language and terminology in any posts you make on your personal social channels that also mention the company.


  • Please refrain from posting any news or imagery from or about the company on your personal social channels if you have any doubts whatsoever such material is not cleared for public release. This includes product rollouts, product improvements, policy changes, etc. Immediacy of posting is not required such that there isn’t time to check with a supervisor first and make sure employees are clear to talk about the subject in question.


  • Please refrain from engaging in any discussion with or about a company competitor on your personal social channels. Simply direct such conversations exclusively to our company’s products, solutions and benefits.


  • We ask that you take with the highest level of seriousness and consideration any request by the company to immediately remove a post on your personal social channels that inappropriately mentions the company, runs counter to privacy policies or embargoes, or is factually incorrect.


  • We want you to be a sincere, transparent, enthused ambassador for our brand. If there are reasons you are reluctant to be publicly associated with the company or product, and if you feel comfortable doing so, please discuss the origins of this reluctance with a supervisor. We see this as a learning opportunity for us in how the workplace or product can be significantly improved.


  • We encourage you to report conversations of note about the company that you encounter on your personal social channels to the brand’s social manager. While we do have a social monitoring and engagement platform in place, it’s always helpful to have such conversations called to our attention to insure proper engagement.


  • As active social channel users in your personal lives, you are particularly experienced in what type of content, especially from brands, captures your attention and wins your engagement. We encourage you to submit content to the brand’s social manager for possible posting on the company’s channels, be it a tweet, image, video, poll, curated content, or original blog post.


  • The company allows access to social network sites, including personal social network sites, onsite during the workday so employees can remain connected and in communication. We ask that you honor this policy by consistently and regularly using that access to help amplify the company’s messaging and stimulate engagement with the brand’s posts.


  • If you have any questions regarding proper usage of your personal social channels when referencing the company, please consult your supervisor or the brand’s social manager before publicly posting.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Krzysztof Szkurlatowski, freeimages.com

Friday Apr 18, 2014

When Bad Tweets Attack: 8 Bits of Advice

Bad Twitter attackIt’s the nightmare every C-suite exec envisioned back when talk of doing social media first started…what happens if the brand makes a catastrophic and very public social media mistake? Don’t people realize how much money has been spent on marketing and PR to make sure every syllable the brand puts out is soft, safe and sanitized?


Social is 24/7, real-time, revealing, and involves interaction between humans. That is not a recipe corporations seek out. But it’s the one they’re now forced to deal with. And just as they feared, mistakes are going to be made.


Case in point, this week’s disastrous tweet on the US Airways account containing a photo I really can’t describe without getting into trouble myself. To its credit, the airline is not firing the social manager who made the mistake. Skift.com found US Airways sends over 400 reply tweets a day, with an average response time of 38 minutes. Despite the horror of the mistake, that’s a solid record. An organization dispensing with the “off with their heads” mentality when it’s not warranted is quite mature and refreshing.


They are hardly alone in taking a social media stumble. Sometimes it’s innocent error. Sometimes it’s being greatly disconnected from how the public feels about you and what they’re likely to do, such as a financial firm’s cancelled Q&A after followers seized the solicitation for questions as a chance to mock the brand and industry mercilessly.


All too often, it’s a lack of judgment or a lack of awareness to make good judgment calls. Far too many brands have piggybacked on trending current events for marketing purposes, only to meet with blowback from followers for being exploitative. Light events like the Super Bowl, fine. Tragedies & anniversaries of tragedies, not fine.


Sometimes, it’s rogue employees such as the live-tweeting of a mass firing at HMV on the brand account, made worse by the marketing director then publicly asking followers, “How do I shut down Twitter?”


And sometimes, bad things even happen from what you don’t do. British Airways lost Hasan Syed's luggage and didn’t respond to his Twitter inquiry, so he simply bought a promoted tweet and amplified what happened, which was his right. British Airways later admitted its Twitter feed was only open during the day.


So here are a few things to keep in mind about when bad tweets happen:

  • As some of the above examples illustrate, you’re often your own worst enemy. Learn to do social right.
  • Have a social media policy so you’ll minimize risk and instantly know what to do if something goes wrong.
  • Get the best social listening tools you can find so you’ll know what’s being said about you.
  • Understand that if you make a mistake, it’s going to go viral, especially if it’s funny. You better find a sense of humor about your corporate self if you don’t have one.
  • Know that social is a human endeavor…if it’s done right. Mistakes are going to happen. Don’t over-react.
  • Don’t hire your social managers carelessly. They have to be smart, aware of the world around them, in tune with their audience, able to stay calm in a crisis, and have solid judgment.
  • If a bad tweet happens, do NOT try to be slick. Own up to it, explain it, apologize if necessary.
  • Know that a bad tweet usually isn’t as big a deal to readers as it is to you. They’ll express snarky outrage if it’s in bad taste. They’ll have fun with it at your expense. But they’re generally understanding and forgiving. Remember, they do social themselves. They know it’s a high wire act.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

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